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Walmart gives $500K for ecosystem rejuvenation

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart announced that through its Acres for America program it is donating $500,000 to help protect, conserve and restore fragile urban ecosystems in Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. 

"We are excited to have an opportunity to help revitalize priority wildlife habitats in urban areas and bring the Acres for America program to life for our associates and customers," said Jennifer May-Brust, Walmart VP realty. "Walmart is serving more and more urban customers, and this is a natural extension of what we've been doing in rural and suburban communities for years."

Walmart will award $100,000 in grant money to each of the following projects:

  • Anacostia Watershed Restoration (Washington, D.C.): This project will install a bioretention facility, or rain garden, to treat polluted storm water runoff entering Nash Run, a tributary of the Anacostia River. The Anacostia River is among the most polluted in the country, and this project is a priority for the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership, which works in Washington, D.C. and Maryland to restore the river for wildlife habitat and as a cultural and recreational resource in the nation's capital.

  • Hegewisch Marsh Restoration (Chicago): Hegewisch Marsh includes four ecosystems: wet savannah, wet prairie, forested wetland, and marsh. It is a nesting site for the endangered common moorhen and home to 12 state-endangered bird species. The project will restore 30 acres of marshland, provide training for 10 new Greencorps Chicago Calumet crew members, and provide hands-on experience in ecological management to 30 high school participants in the "Calumet is My Backyard" program.

  • Bolsa Chica Enhancement Project (Los Angeles): This project will support restoration and habitat enhancement efforts at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve for the endangered southern tarplant, an annual herb native to California. The $100,000 grant will help reduce invasive non-native grasses, increase southern tarplant and native coastal grass populations, and fund long-term monitoring of the 118-acre Bolsa Chica mesa.

  • Jamaica Bay Salt Marsh Restoration (New York): A 26-square-mile urban ecosystem off the Brooklyn and Queens shoreline, Jamaica Bay is the largest tidal wetlands complex in New York City, part of the National Park Service Gateway National Recreation Area and a key stopover point along the Atlantic Flyway for migratory birds. This project includes rebuilding two historic marsh islands with clean dredged materials from the New York/New Jersey Harbor. Planting marsh grasses will stabilize the two islands and provide habitat to special-status bird species including the American Oystercatcher.

  • The New York Botanical Garden Lower Portage Trail (New York): Restoring the Lower Portage Trail will help improve the ecological health of the Bronx River and create better recreational amenities for garden visitors and community residents. The proposed improvements will restore the shoreline and improve nearby woodlands, and the removal of hard pavement will reduce pollution into the Bronx River. These improvements will serve the boaters who pass through the garden on the river and the school groups who enjoy the ecology of the river.

Acres for America was created in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation as a 10-year, $35 million commitment to purchase and preserve one acre of wildlife habitat in the United States for every acre of land developed by Walmart.

States with lands protected and restored under the Acres for America program include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming and Washington, D.C.